SIGNING OF 19-YEAR-OLD FINNISH PRODUCT ADDS TO DEPTH IN NET
The 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning have signed Finnish goaltending prospect Karri Ramo to a standard three-year Entry Level contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Ramo, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound native of Asikkala, Finland aided HPK Hameenlinna to the Finnish Elite League Championship in 2005-06 in his first year with the club. He appeared in 24 games during the regular season and posted a 2.16 goals-against average with a .929 save percentage. He ranked first on the team in save percentage and was second in goals-against average.
"Getting Karri Ramo signed and started on his professional career in North America is a very significant event for our organization," Feaster said. "Both Jeff Reese and Corey Schwab, as well as our scouts in the field, have been quite impressed by Karri and his ability to step-up and handle the pressure of playing in the Elite League while only 19-years old. He is going to face some stiff competition from three other young goalies who began their own professional careers last season in our system, but we are confident that he is up to the challenge and will, in fact, relish the opportunity to compete for his spot in our organization. This signing, combined with our earlier signing of Fredrik Norrena, has once again improved our depth tremendously at an incredibly important position."
The19-year-old began his international career by representing Finland in the 2004 World U-18 Championships and skated in one game, a 4-1 win against Denmark. He returned to international competition at the 2006 World Juniors helping Finland win the Bronze Medal.
Prior to joining HPK, Ramo played in 26 games at the age of 18 for Pelicans of the Finnish Elite League and posted a 3.98 GAA with one shutout.
Ramo was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 191st overall, at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He has made one North American start during his career, a 37-save performance for the Lightning in a 3-1 win against the St. Louis Blues at the 2004 Traverse City Prospect Tournament.